Student Loan Forgiveness: 14 Fields That Benefit

With debt ballooning for many in college, student loan forgiveness programs have become serious mojo. I have found (about a dozen) fields that can benefit from forgiveness. Learn a few of the ins and outs below.

What Is Student Loan Forgiveness?

You can think of the concept as a backwards grant: instead of giving you money to go to school, you get money to pay off student loans after you graduate. This of course helps you stay in your field and keep doing good things for humanity. I feel better already.

Why would someone give you thousands of dollars to pay off or pay down your student loans? Because you, my friend, are an exceptional person. If…

That if makes the difference. You have to do something that counts towards a loan forgiveness program. For example, you can find programs for all of the fields or positions below, but you have to qualify for the programs.

More on qualifying below.

Who Can Get It

Here are several career fields that I have found programs for:

1. Government employed lawyers, such as public defenders and nonprofit positions

2. Child care workers

3. Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers, which includes the VISTA program (Volunteers In Service To America)

4. Public and also private school teachers

5. Nurses, mainly in areas of critical need

6. Social workers

7. Public safety or law enforcement officers, such as police officers and firemen among others

8. Some government positions other than law

9. Doctors working in underserved areas that need more medical care

10. Psychologists, in some cases

11. Engineers and Computer Science grads in some cases

Here are two programs for engineers and science grads:

One with UHEAA, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, called the Utah Engineering and Computer Science Loan and Scholarship Program, or UECLP. If you are an engineer or computer scientist and have a loan with UHEAA, give them a call and ask if you qualify.

Another is with MOHELA, the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, called the Prospective Engineering Student Loan Forgiveness Award Program, offers up to $3500 in forgiveness. Call MOHELA if you have borrowed in Missouri and see if you qualify.

There is a third program coming up eventually, for engineers who work for the federal gov't. It is part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. You'll have to make 120 payments, starting on or after October 2007 to qualify.

12. Business grads and MBA’s in public service

13. Military service can qualify you for loan forgiveness

14. Librarians in public service

Health Care Workers

Not a bad list. I have another page that adds some information for nurses, social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, dentist, and doctors. I have additional info on my student loan debt forgiveness page for one specific national program. Your field could be on the list as well. With so many programs, you can find a program for nearly any field. Application requirements will vary (see below). By the way, student loan forgiveness also goes by the name student loan repayment assistance program, or LRAP.

Hopefully you see the trend here. Most of the positions above – and I can’t promise this list is complete – have two or three things in common:

- Public service

- Jobs located in critical need areas

- Low pay compared to others in their field

Why would you have to meet these requirements? I explain more below, but the basic reason is this: Certain groups need you, they need graduates who can do certain jobs.

These employers offer loan forgiveness as a benefit, to entice you to apply. That's the long and the short of it.

What Programs Require

Typically, you will have to commit to a job for a while to receive these student loan forgiveness benefits. The length of stay varies. Also, the amount paid varies quite a bit. You can receive tens of thousands for some positions, and a few thousands for others – but help is still help.

Naturally, if a particular university offers the program, you have to graduate there. And many states have programs, but you’ll have to work in that state.

Also, some programs only offer student loan forgiveness for certain types of debt. For example, some programs are just for an FFEL or direct loan. And your salary will come into play as well. Let’s say you make $250K, don’t expect any help. If you make $25,000, you may be in luck, so to speak ; o)

For more general help on eliminting or paying off your loans, see my student loan debt relief page for 7 resources to help you get rid of your loans.

How Big Is This?

I haven’t yet found or assembled a list of the programs, and for good reason. Lawyers alone have over 400 programs – most of those offered directly by law school for graduates. Individual states have many programs, and the federal government has also created several programs.

It’s a big group, so take a look for your field. I’ll post more as I find programs or lists. For right now, just get started looking for student loan forgiveness programs that relate to you and your situation. You can often apply for forgiveness up to 10 years after graduation – you may still have time.

Get an online loan fast and hassle-free now.

And if you are looking for more information, visit this debt after college page

Current Students

And if you haven’t yet graduated, you have a great opportunity to do two things:

1. Plan for and look for a position after school that will qualify for loan forgiveness. Understand that you will have to commit for a significant period of work, usually at least 1 year with more benefits for each year worked.

2. Notice which fields offer loan forgiveness, and plan your career accordingly. You’ll notice few scientific and business positions listed – because they make more money than school teachers and social workers. If you go into a higher paid field, you won’t have as many programs, but you will make enough to pay yours off.

Good luck, and keep looking. Programs sprout up often.

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